Academic Programs 
      

  American Pluralism: Difference and Democracy (RS-670)
Fall 2004

The demographic reality of increasing diversity in the United States serves as the course’s point of entry and raison d'ętre. Against this backdrop, participants will: 1) probe the social and cultural differences among a variety of categorizations of American diversity including race, ethnicity, religion, social class, gender and ideology; (2) engage both historic and contemporary debates about the implications of such diversity for the creation and sustainability of America's national character and vitality; (3) explore a variety of contemporary approaches to dealing with diversity, e.g., interfaith dialogue, multiculturalism in the workplace and public school racial integration; and (4) given the 2004 presidential election, debate the presidential candidates’ policy positions on related issues.

 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Wednesdays mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 15, 22 and 29, Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 27, and Nov. 3, 10, and 17  

David A. Roozen
Professor of Religion and Society


Contact Information:

phone: 
(860) 509-9546
email:  roozen@hartsem.edu
 

 


Course Syllabus



Course Goals:  The demographic reality of increasing diversity in the United States serves as the course’s point of entry and raison d'ętre. Against this backdrop, participants will: 

 

  1. Probe the social and cultural differences among a variety of categorizations of American diversity including race, ethnicity, religion, social class, gender and ideology;
  2. Engage both historic and contemporary debates about the implications of such diversity for the creation and sustainability of America's national character and vitality;
  3. Explore a variety of contemporary approaches to dealing with diversity, e.g., interfaith dialogue, multiculturalism in the workplace and public school racial integration; and
  4. Given the 2004 presidential election, debate the presidential candidates’ policy positions on related issues.   

Expectations:

  • Sharing openly and respectfully.

  • Empathetic listening to one another.

  • What is said in the group stays in the group!

  • Timely and regular attendance.  If an emergency comes up, call me or the main seminary number (860/509-9500) and leave word.

  • Keeping up with the assigned reading and written reflection.

  • Active participation in class discussions and exercises.

  • Auditors are welcome.  They will be held to the same expectations as credit students, except auditors are not required to do the written reflections.


Course Grade:   M.A. students will receive a letter grade.  D.Min students are graded High Pass/Pass/Low Pass Fail.  Course grade is based on: 2 class participation and 2 written reflections.  

Written Reflections: Rather than a major course paper, each student will keep a "log" of reflections on the reading assignments, one section for the readings for each class session.  Each log section should include:

  • Session date and reading assignment.

  • Major points:

  • Which confirmed/reinforced your pre-existing perceptions/perspectives.

  • Which challenged/contradicted your pre-existing perceptions/perspectives.

  • Entirely new insights and perspectives.

  • Personal reactions to the readings: questions, affirmations, feelings and connections to your life.

Four to five, "typed" pages per section (that is, per a class session=s assigned reading) is sufficient.  The "major point" material can be in bullet paragraph form.  "Personal reactions" should be in narrative form.  Please keep your "typed," log sections in a three ring binder.

 

Session Outline

September 15

 

 

September 22

 

 

 

     

October   29

 

 

 

   

October 6

 

 


October 13

 

 

 

October 20

 

 

October 27

 

 

November 3

     

November 10

 

 


November 17

 

Pluralism, Diversity (Plurality) And Me

Class Exercises:  Who Am I
Inventorying Your Life Experience With Difference


Skills and Tools

Class Exercise: Bring a copy of a recent paper you wrote
Reading: Guidelines for Inclusive Use of the English Language
Conflict Mediation Across Cultures, pp 1-142 & 187-258
Catholic Common Ground Initiative.  “Principles of Dialogue.” 
Swidler, Leonard.  “The Dialogue Decalogue:  Ground Rules for Interreligious, Interideological Dialogue.” 

Politics

There will be no, official class meeting this week.  Rather, students will participate in the online, mini course “Religion and Contemporary American Presidential Elections” (See Attached).  I will be in the class room from 9:30 – 10:30 for any students that want to discuss/debrief their online course experience.  Additionally, all students should read: David A. Roozen “The Political Frame

Debriefing Politics & Race 1

Reading: They and We, all

Race Relations: Opposing Viewpoints, pp 12-70 & 199-223


Race 2 and Gender

Reading: We Can All Get Along, handout
Male/Female Roles: Opposing Viewpoints
, pp 12-81 & 252-295

Conflict Mediation Across Cultures
, pp 164-186
Hand in "Written Reflection Binder" for review


Diversity in the Workplace and Affirmative Action

Reading: Making Diversity Happen, all
Affirmative Action, all


Religion

Reading: U.S. Lifestyles and Mainline Churches, all  
Enduring Issues in Religion, handouts

Debriefing the election

 

Homosexuality

Reading:  Homosexuality: Opposing Viewpoints,  pp 12-95, 168-222
Guest presentation by Scott Thumma:  Religion and Gay Rights


Multi-Culturalism and Reconciliation

Reading: Cultural Wars: Opposing Viewpoints, pp 13-69 & 156-199
Conflict Mediation Across Cultures
, pp 259-287
Hand in
"Written Reflection Binder"

  

Religion and Contemporary American Presidential Elections

With: Corwin Smidt*

 A timely Hartford Seminary online mini-course

Monday, September 27 through Friday, October 1

This weeklong mini-course will examine the role that religion plays in contemporary American presidential elections. 

Attention will be given to issues related to:

  • The role of religion in public life and the separation of church and state,

  • The political characteristics of religious groups within American politics,

  • The political significance of religious groups within presidential campaign politics,

  • The religious faith of the presidential candidates, and

  • The efforts of presidential candidates to attract religious votes. 

Particular attention will be given to the 2004 presidential election campaign, within the context of patterns evident over the past 25 years.

Each of the five “days” of the course will begin with the instructor’s posting of a brief background essay on the topic of the day, to which students are encouraged to reply with questions and comments.  Then the instructor will respond to collectively to the day’s student responses.

American Pluralism students will “journal” about each day’s online essay and responses, just as they will for all other class readings.

*Corwin Smidt holds the Henry Chair and is the Executive Director of the Paul Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

He is the author, editor, or co-author of 10 books, including Pulpit and Politics: Clergy in American Politics at the Advent of the Millennium (forthcoming October 2004); Religion as Social Capital: Producing the Common Good; Sojourners in the Wilderness: The Christian Right in Comparative Perspective; The Bully Pulpit, The Politics of Protestant Clergy; and In God We Trust: Religion in American Political Life

Dr. Smidt has served as President of Christians in Political Science, as Executive Director of the Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, and as President of the Michigan Conference of Political Scientists.

Read more about Dr. Smidt at the Calvin College web site.

Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500  info@hartsem.edu